Optimus Prime and Bumblebee - 天使の微笑 - The Angel's Smile
真真実を教える (tell the truth)
Optimus returned to his medical bench, closely followed by Ratchet. Carefully, the Prime scooped up both Bumblebee and the little toy sword, and lay down, lovingly cradling the youngling against his chest with a single servo.
Ratchet pulled up a chair and sat next to the berth, frowning down at his patient. He already knew exactly what the Autobot commander wanted to know. He just needed to find the words to tell him.
"Ratchet," Optimus Prime started, "I need to know what happened at Gate 5."
"Where do I even start?" The doctor asked uneasily. "Sir, Prowl could give you a better damage report than I could. I can get him up here, if you'd like."
"That won't be necessary. I'll go over the details with him when it's appropriate." Prime said, his voice gentle but firm. "For now, I'm not looking for a mere damage report or assessment… I want to know about my friends and comrades."
Ratchet sighed glumly. "I thought as much."
"Ironhide isn't here." The Prime said uneasily, looking distantly out at the room. He turned away and gave a sigh. "Is he still with us?"
Ratchet met the larger Autobot's gaze, and for a moment, there was complete silence. Not since Bumblebee was an infant had the doctor seen the Prime look so sad, but that was really to be expected. The ancient Autobot had been a good friend to Optimus since his sudden rise to Prime, acting as both a bodyguard and a confidante. A lot of people loved the old rust-bucket, who would've done anything to protect them and ensure their happiness.
Well, at least he had some good news for the inexperienced Prime.
"Come now, Prime," Ratchet said softly. "What's that look about? You know you can't kill the old fragger that easily."
The Prime's optics brightened. "Really?" He asked delightedly. "Tell me, will he recover? What's the damage?"
"Hey, take it easy!" Ratchet said good-naturedly, making downward gestures with his servos. "Ol' Ironhide's got a few vorns left in him yet, I'm happy to say. He cut it pretty close, though, but I suspect we'll get the whole story behind that later- every last detail."
"Plus ten or twenty legions of enemy soldiers, I'd wager." Prime added, a smile in his voice.
"It just wouldn't be Ironhide otherwise." Ratchet agreed, stifling a chuckle. "Now, since you already have Prowl to fill you in on all the serious details, I'll just give you the good news, alright?"
"I suppose," Prime answered uneasily.
"What's that tone about?" Ratchet asked. "I told you, I'm only giving you the good news. And there's plenty of that, you'll be happy to know."
"I do have another question before you begin." Optimus Prime said, meeting his optics. For a moment, Ratchet found himself struck by just how piercing that gaze really was. Optimus's truly were the optics of a Prime; as passionate as Sentinel Prime before him, but with a gentleness that his predecessor had lacked. Even in this condition, even with his lack of experience, it was uncanny just how suited he seemed to be to leadership.
"Yes, sir?" The doctor prompted.
"What happened to Bumblebee?" Optimus Prime asked.
Ratchet shifted uneasily. Of all the things his commander could've asked, it had to be something that wasn't easy to answer. For one thing, he knew that the answer was going to upset the Prime, no two ways about it. For another, he still felt a little badly about letting the little rat get away, even if it hadn't really been his fault. He had been working at the time after all-and on the Prime himself, in fact- and he'd told Bumblebee not to go anywhere. Honestly, for all the child's brazenness, he hadn't expected him to go and pull a stunt like that.
"Sir, I think it's in your best interest you wait until you're feeling better." He replied.
"Why?" Prime asked suspiciously, rubbing the youngling's upper back with his finger. He clearly wasn't in the mood for this, and Ratchet knew he couldn't evade the question. But at the same time, the Autobot commander still wasn't in any condition for the stress and worry-and perhaps anger-that the truth would bring.
"Because, well, I told you that I'm only going to give you the good news." Ratchet answered uneasily. He glanced over at the door, mentally grasping for an excuse to put it to use.
"Now I really want to know." The larger mech said.
"Well, sir, with all due respect, I'm not telling you. You needn't concern yourself with such things in your condition, and that's the doctor's orders."
Optimus Prime's optics narrowed. "We're talking about something that happened to my son." He said, his voice a little hoarse, but absolutely firm. "It already concerns me."
Ratchet frowned and averted his gaze. Well, Prime definitely had a point, and were he in the same position, the doctor knew that he would've done exactly the same thing- only, he wasn't the commander of all Autobots. He was more than a little outclassed on this one.
"Really now, Prime." Ratchet ventured one last time. "Isn't it enough that I'm your doctor and your friend? Can't you wait until you've recovered?"
"Please. Just tell me." Optimus answered. "If you don't, I'll just worry about it until you do. Bumblebee looks alright, but he's been hurt, and his sword's all bent up."
Ratchet's shoulders sloped in defeat. "Yes, sir." He said at last. "You see, Bumblebee wanted to protect you, so he went out looking for you."
The Prime tensed, and propped himself up on his elbows. Alarm showed itself in his widened optics and hydraulics drawn taut. "Out? On the battlefield?"
"Yes, sir." Ratchet answered reluctantly. "Now, listen, just relax and let me finish my story. I really won't tell you if you try to get up, with all due respect."
The powerful mech carefully lowered himself back onto the bed, looking earnestly to Ratchet. "I apologize. Please, continue."
Ratchet nodded and reluctantly continued. "I'm afraid he… well, he went out onto the battlefield, but he was caught by Jazz and brought to the medical tent. He suffered only minor damage and was not hit by any stray fire."
"Thank Primus," Optimus said breathlessly. "But how did he get out there? Wasn't anyone watching him? Why didn't Jazz stop him?"
"Now, before you get angry, Prime, Jazz was escorting me out there at Ultra Magnus's request so I could take care of the wounded; yourself among them. We really didn't have a choice, so we left Bumblebee up in his room and sent a nursemaid to look after him. I guess he must've gotten out before he got there, and nobody noticed him in all the commotion."
That was enough to calm Optimus Prime's nerves, it seemed. He relaxed and bowed his head, and nudged his sleeping youngling's cheek fondly. "Mischievous little thing… Thank Primus nothing happened!" He looked up at Ratchet once more. "Thank you for taking care of him, Ratchet- and for telling me the truth."
Ratchet smiled awkwardly. He was just lucky the commander was too happy and relieved to be angry about what'd happened.
He felt bad about giving him only half the story, of course, but it was for the Prime's own good. The red and blue mech had to focus on recovering, and it wouldn't do much for his health if he was busy panicking because of the stupid stunt his young son had pulled "in the name of the Autobot cause".
Ratchet hoped the kid wasn't about to make a habit of it. The Prime would flip if Bumblebee grew up and decided to become a soldier.
"So then, Prime. How about I give you that good news I promised?" He offered, changing the subject.
"Thank you, Ratchet. That would be great right about now." Optimus Prime answered, a smile in his voice.